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Implications of Bio-modification on Moisture Damage Mechanisms in Asphalt Binder Matrix

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Bio-modification of asphalt binder brings significant benefits in terms of increasing sustainable and environmental practices, stabilizing prices, and decreasing costs. However, bio-modified asphalt binders have shown varying performance regarding susceptibility

Bio-modification of asphalt binder brings significant benefits in terms of increasing sustainable and environmental practices, stabilizing prices, and decreasing costs. However, bio-modified asphalt binders have shown varying performance regarding susceptibility to moisture damage; some bio-oil modifiers significantly increase asphalt binder's susceptibility to moisture damage. This variability in performance is largely due to the large number of bio-masses available for use as sources of bio-oil, as well as the type of processing procedure followed in converting the bio-mass into a bio-oil for modifying asphalt binder. Therefore, there is a need for a method of properly evaluating the potential impact of a bio-oil modifier for asphalt binder on the overall performance of asphalt pavement, in order to properly distinguish whether a particular bio-oil modifier increases or decreases the moisture susceptibility of asphalt binder. Therefore, the goal of this study is a multi-scale investigation of bio-oils with known chemical compositions to determine if there is a correlation between a fundamental property of a bio-oil and the resulting increase or decrease in moisture susceptibility of a binder when it is modified with the bio-oil. For instance, it was found that polarizability of asphalt constituents can be a promising indicator of moisture susceptibility of bitumen. This study will also evaluate the linkage of the fundamental property to newly developed binder-level test methods. It was found that moisture-induced shear thinning of bitumen containing glass beads can differentiate moisture susceptible bitumen samples. Based on the knowledge determined, alternative methods of reducing the moisture susceptibility of asphalt pavement will also be evaluated. It was shown that accumulation of acidic compounds at the interface of bitumen and aggregate could promote moisture damage. It was further found that detracting acidic compounds from the interface could be done by either of neutralizing active site of stone aggregate to reduce affinity for acids or by arresting acidic compounds using active mineral filler. The study results showed there is a strong relation between composition of bitumen and its susceptibility to moisture. This in turn emphasize the importance of integrating knowledge of surface chemistry and bitumen composition into the pavement design and evaluation.

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  • 2020